Things your Home Inspector might not tell you, But I will.

Home Inspector with Certified Structure Inspector IOS #1730, EA #30

Most Home Inspectors are out to do the best job they can. I think a Home Inspection is one of the best investments one can make when owning a home. But as utility prices rise and consumers are getting more concerned about wasting energy does the Home Inspector address much of this. They do to a point, The inspector comments on insulation and ventilation of the structure. But there can be more to it and that's where the building science training kicks in.

I’m a Home Inspector and a Energy Auditor in the Reno area. I spend allot of time on education and looking at houses. Standards change over time. The days of drafty poorly insulated houses are a thing of the past. Buyers are not willing to spend tons of extra money each month to heat a home. People want a more comfortable and efficient home.

I usually say any house built before 2000 is a good candidate for an Energy Audit and retrofit.

During a recent Home Inspection I found a couple of large attic chases that are Reno Attic Chasedoing nothing except wasting money in energy. Typically this is not something thought of as a defect during a Home Inspection. Chases are used to bring plumbing, electrical, and duct up to other floors. Chases are also bring hot and cold air in and out of the house. They are like having a open chimney. They are something I point out every time I see them. They require sealing and insulating.

The other area of concern in the Reno area is crawlspaces. They can be an area of huge energy loss. With duct work down there it’s an even worse situation. Reno Damp CrawlspaceCrawlspace ventilation is something that has been called out in many a inspection report. Usually the recommendation is to add more ventilation to help keep the moisture from getting into the home. As an Energy Auditor I see the need to have a layer of properly sealed plastic under the house to stop moisture and soil gasses. With this the need for ventilation is no longer. With no cold air blowing through the foundation the walls can be insulated to keep the heat in. Often known as conditioning the crawlspace, you now have made it part of the home and not a cold, damp, and dingy energy waster. This is something I often bring up after my Home Inspection.

The Energy side of things is pretty new to Reno. There are several parts of the country where people have realized the benefits of using building science and the whole house as a system approach to make older homes more efficient, comfortable, durable, and healthier.

When in need of a Home Inspection, Energy Audit or both in the Reno area give me a call.

Comments (7)

Christine McDaniel
Christine McDaniel Realty, LLC - Avon, IN
Broker Associate

Interesting post on insulation and ventilation Rob!  Any studies about if the sealed plastic under a home helps reduce radon?

Mar 05, 2013 09:51 AM
Rob Ernst
Certified Structure Inspector - Reno, NV
Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor

Reno is not a big area for Radon. But around us there are several areas that have elevated areas. It would be really easy to add the Radon mitigation into the crawlspace conditioning. Here in our own unsientific test have found a reduction once the home was tested after the sealed plastic was installed.

Mar 05, 2013 10:20 AM
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi Rob,

As an energy auditor my self. I do add some things to the inspection report. Such as missing insulation and venting for the crawl spaces and attics. Many builders don't take into account the actual SQUARE INCHES needed to vent an attic or crawl space properly.

They can do what they want after the report is issued. But until they read it. I am reporting what i see.

Have a great day in the Reno Area.

Best, Clint McKie


Mar 07, 2013 10:22 PM
Rob Ernst
Certified Structure Inspector - Reno, NV
Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor

Clint we are looking to remove the vents here and condition the crawlspace. Insulation is usually on the foundation walls with ducts on the crawlspace. With open vents it makes for cold ducts and cold floor.

Mar 09, 2013 08:17 AM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

Hi Rob,

First of all, I appreciate your work as an Inspector and Energy Auditor - important work. I hope that one day soon we'll see conditioned crawl spaces become the standard. They make so much sense.

Oct 23, 2013 12:13 AM
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles real estate concierge services

Energy auditing is not huge here yet, but hopefully people will start to realize how much money they can save and more important here because of our mild climate, make their home healthier.

Nov 02, 2013 07:44 AM
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

We aren't even getting into the energy audit fad yet :-/

Nov 18, 2013 06:00 AM